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Adding depth and creativity with a Glow

Sometimes an image needs just a bit more ‘POP.’ While I regularly use Photoshop for my editing, I often bring my images into Luminar Flex, which has some great options to help with that process.

Luminar Flex Glow

There are many ways to enhance an image. I try to keep them realistic but with a touch of fantasy mixed in for a warm, inviting look to the photo. When that is the goal, I work with some filters in Luminar Flex.

Before taking the image to Flex I do my essential and creative retouching on a separate layer. I do this so I can see the before/after of my work. Once complete, I create a copy of the retouched layer before activating the plug-in. Why? This gives me the option to use a mask in Photoshop to enable use of only parts of the changes if I wish. It also allows me to work in a non-destructive manner. If I decide after making the enhanced changes I don’t like them I can throw away that layer at any time and still have the clean retouched layer to try it again.

Like mother like daughter

Straight out of camera (SOOC) capture of a horse and her foal.

Riding down the road I passed a horse farm with some well cared for stock. I quickly pulled over to see what interactions I could capture. This mare and her foal were nibbling on the grasses. I enjoy how the foal was following along in perfect step and behavior with mom.

Because the horses were in the distance I was able to get this image because of the long reach Leica 100-400mm lens. Because it is mounted on a Lumix G9 micro four-thirds camera, it has a similar reach to an 800mm lens on a full-frame camera.

Retouched image with Luminar Flex Orton Glow with Structure applied

Even though I am adding a Glow to the image I often will add some Structure and/or Micro Structure to the image before applying the Glow filter. One of my favorites is the Orton Glow. This filter adds a glow to the highlights and shadows along with a bit of saturation. You can experiment with the different types of glow and amount of saturation. The beauty of working with plug-ins is that they are what you see is what you get. Seeing the changes in real time before you apply the changes is helpful.

Luminar Flex Glow and the water lily

SOOC water lily in dappled sunlight.

I found this lily in a pond. It had dappled sunlight dancing across the scene and I immediately knew I was going to process this scene with some glow. In this case, not only did I add an Orton Glow and Structure as I mentioned above I added a Soft Glow filter as well as a darkening Vignette. A Soft Glow filter will concentrate on the highlights and give them a glow alone. In this case it helped make the flower stand out just a little more.

Processed with Flex Orton Glow, Structure, Micro Structure, Soft Glow and Vignette.

Flex Looks

Luminar Flex comes with Looks already built in and you have the ability to add more. Even better, you can create your own Looks and name, save and share them with others as well. This comes in extremely handy if you have a similar set of photos that are going to need the same look. One press of your saved Look and all your settings to all the different filters are applied.

If you find you use a set of tools on a regular basis you can also set up your own workspace, which will have only those tools you wish to have and no others. Way cool. I’ll bet you can guess that I might have a Workspace called Glow and Structure … and, you would be right.

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob

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